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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 10 Hansard (Thursday, 7 October 2021) . . Page.. 2908 ..

budget makes mental health a priority. We are building five new supported accommodation houses for people with enduring mental illness to live in the community; and we are expanding acute mental health services, with 10 acute mental health inpatient beds in the low dependency unit.

I am a big believer in the benefits of community-based care, and I am thrilled to see funding allocated to a feasibility study and site selection for the south Tuggeranong walk-in centre. Walk-in centres are important, not just as a strategic attempt to divert unnecessary flow from the emergency department but because they provide free, non-judgemental and accessible care close to people’s homes.

Nurses shine in these environments and demonstrate their care, capacity and professionalism day in and day out. The ACT Greens are committed to increasing nurse practitioner capability within walk-in centres. I have heard countless stories of how nurses in walk-in centres have saved lives and provided outstanding care by valuing patient-centred care. Walk-in centres are an example of the innovative approach that this government continues to take to reduce the pressure on our hospitals.

Recently I went to get a new PrEP script and a sexual health screen at the newly refurbished Canberra Sexual Health Centre at the Canberra Hospital. It is an incredibly impressive facility and a great example of the investments right across our health systems and hospitals that this government is making. It would be wonderful to see sexual health screening expanded into our walk-in centres across the city, too.

I am pleased to read about recent funding announcements for A Gender Agenda and Meridian. I have heard some detail about the community-based care that these organisations are providing, including counselling, vaccine delivery and navigation of care. These organisations are strong examples of the role community organisations make in caring for the communities they represent. I am pleased to be a part of a government that supports this kind of innovation.

As the ACT Greens spokesperson for drug harm reduction, I am thrilled to see support for the alcohol and other drugs sector in the ACT. We know that the demand for support, treatment and care for people who use drugs far outstrips the current capacity of these services, and that overflow of need directly results in increased wait times at emergency departments.

As this government continues to take bold action to treat problematic drug use as a health issue, be it through pill testing, safe drug consumption rooms or the decriminalisation of drugs, we know that investment in the alcohol and other drugs sector is core to ensuring equity of care for all.

I am thrilled that budget money has been allocated to design work for the long campaigned for Aboriginal community controlled residential drug rehabilitation centre run by Winnunga Nimmityjah. As a member of the Assembly’s select committee on the Drugs of Dependence Amendment Bill, I have heard from many stakeholders in this sector about the serious need for more funding. Alongside support for decriminalisation, they call for increased funding for the sector to meet the

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